Why do our teens rebel?
I would like to focus on two reasons why our children rebel and get so arrogant? By the way, do not be deceived. If your child complies with your request but does it with a poor attitude, know for sure that the child is in passive rebellion. Because of your strong hand, they do not openly rebel. But give them time and room, and you will see your maturing child reject you and your life.
I want to talk about two problems. There are many other things that can be said, but we need to get down to the roots of why our teens rebel. Later we will come back and show how this is related to our love for God.
- Children build up resentment. They lack their parents’ love and anger builds up.
- Children have learned to rebel. Children learn how to handle relationships through the way their parents handle relationships especially in their marriage.
Children build up resentment.
As we start, let us think a minute. Let me pause and ask you a few questions:
- Do you talk with your child about life?
- Do you know the greatest fears, struggles and joys of your young ones?
- Do you really care what struggles your child is going through?
Giving rides and lessons does not count. If you do not talk with your child, your child knows that you really do not care about them. Money and gifts do not form love. Love is shown in a relationship where through your words and actions you show a heart commitment to their welfare. A young person desperately needs this kind of personal care. When it is not present, they are very wary of gifts. One cannot buy love.
Now let me give you a situation. Say there is a misunderstanding between the parent and the child. In the first situation, the child does not feel loved. The second situation the child does feel loved.
- Don’t feel loved. This parent has not shown that they really care for the child. Or at least, the child does not feel loved. So when a misunderstanding occurs, hostility quickly arises. Resentment is longstanding anger over past matters. Each event further builds upon the old. Even if the argument is over a small thing, the child (and often the parent) jump up in anger. Usually, the anger just settles down, but it still remains in the dormant state called resentment.
More important, this resentment distorts how a young person understands various situations between them and their parent. This is the source of much rebellion. The real issue is not just that one situation but the many unresolved ones underneath.
- Feel loved. The parents have shown love and concern for the child. The parent approaches the child about the misunderstanding. There are no old resentments to make the child ‘react’ to the parent. They start off disagreeing as above. The problem might be resolved. But perhaps the young person abused his or her privilege. There might be some consequence given out. For example, they stayed out beyond the time agreed upon. The young person apologizes and accepts the consequence. Their relationship is quickly restored.
Anger’s Splash Over Affect
In order to understand anger, it will help us to look at this illustration. Let’s say that each time a person gets angry, he has a certain amount of anger that builds up. God has equipped us with a certain capacity, say a little more than that amount. If we get angry, our tank gets full. Some drops splash out in the form of mean words but not much. Those drops are like acid and hurt those around them.
God, fortunately, has given us several outlets where that anger can dissipate away. So that with time the anger subsides and it, so to speak, drains out. But when it happens several times, the pipe clogs. So there remains a pile up of anger inside. Now, however, when that same amount of anger arises from a situation, much more splashes over. It can no longer fit in. More people are hurt.
We have several outlets of anger where the anger can escape. But after a while this happens again and again, more outlets are plugged and the residue pile of anger grows, allowing less room to contain the anger that arises from a new situation. When the anger arises this time, much anger splashes over in many different forms hurting those closest to them.
Resentment and bitterness that is stored up will always cause more and more problems including spiritual, health and relationship problems. anger's splash effectPerhaps now you can better understand why every time you talk to your teen about some issue, it becomes a terrible argument. You just do not want to talk to him or her anymore.
When you see you or your child blowing up, you should recognize that there is a deep level of unresolved anger or bitterness between you and your child. Your child cannot feel your love through the lens of this anger. Before your child will be able to rightly relate to you and build a level of trust, this resentment must be eliminated. You as a parent need to take the first step.
Now, remember, this anger piled up over a lot of time. Also remember that if you have anger spill over, then you too have resentment piled up inside you. Before you can care for your child, you need to rightly handle your own unforgiving heart through getting forgiveness from God.
Many difficult communication problems are sourced right at this spot. This is the reason Jesus told us that we always must forgive. If we do not forgive, then we lose our capacity to love. It is here that we see the amazing power of forgiveness. It is only through Christ we can gain a true forgiveness that cleanses us from the power of past sin.
A child will be less forgiving, if they see that you don’t love them. The statistics show that parents spend very little meaningful time conversing with their young people. I know, you think the child does not want to talk. You try, but they resist. But this is often due to a longstanding pattern of non-concern. Deeper issues must be dealt with before you can resolve this particular problem.
Most children in this society feel like they are good for only one thing–a tax discount. Otherwise, they hear statements like this from Mom, “Oh, oh, it is summer vacation again.” That translates over to mean that the parents do not want their children at home. They do not like to be with their children. Have you ever said this? Have you ever wished that they did not have a vacation? Why? This lack of love forms a plug over the forgiving outlet. Resentment builds up. They can easily think, “Why should I forgive my Dad when he doesn’t love me?”
Part of this comes from the result the way parents focus on getting ahead. Parents are so busy making wealth that they have forgotten God and their family. Dad always wants to please the boss so that he can be promoted and get higher raise. He says he will do this and that with his child but is quite willing to have some office work to keep him from keeping his promises to his child.
What about Mom? Why does she work? Does she have to? She wants to feel important. She wants the financial freedom. But then she can’t spend that time with her child. But maybe she doesn’t want to. Perhaps the child has even heard that he or she was a mistake. This can destroy a child. Can you see why the child hates being at home. No one really cares for him. I know the parents pay high tuition and give expensive gifts to their children, but this is not what they want or need. They need to be wanted. If we are motivated by genuine concern for our children, then they have a high forgiving power. But without this love, the love that we do show is not seen as that.
Many of us, as parents, also need to learn about love. For example, did you parents prioritize relationships or did they put work ahead of everything? Many of us, including me, have so much to learn about love and relationships. This is part of the glorious gospel of Christ.
I know, from the parents’ perspectives, they have gone way out of the way to help their children. They have made sacrifices. They have worked hard. They see that they are doing it to get ahead, but in fact what happens, is that because they are are struggling so hard to make the child well off, that they actually neglect the child.
Deep down the problem is that the parents really do think that wealth makes for a good life. You can see it in every one of their decisions. So how does this work with a Christian? In some cases, the Christian is not really a Christian at all. Their chief love is wealth and with that idol they will be buried. But others, those that really are Christians, have not really understood how Christ makes a difference in their personal lives. I have found that our faith is put to the test in a number of critical family decisions.
- Is the job more important than the Lord? Do you compromise?
- Do you make job decisions that ignore responsibilities to one’s spouse or the children?
In a positive sense,
- Do you love your children?
- Do you esteem your position as husband and wife? Is it something you value?
- Do you love your spouse?
- Do you love God more than all?
- Do you believe that the Word of God has the answers for life rather than education?
In the end, we must see that the problems we have with our children are caused by our affair with wealth, our neglect of our spouse, our unwillingness to develop a true relationship with our children.
Remember the chart. The end goal is to be friends. You will not be boss but a friend. You are transferring love and wisdom into your child so that they can live great lives. Because of that, they just end up being one of your best friends. They will want to talk to you. They will even share some of their problems with you that they are going through. They will trust you and want your input. Your child will want to be with you, and you will want to be with him–just like a good friend.
Resentment ruins everyday conversations. Now let’s look at the second root reason so much problems exist in the family.
Children learn from their parents.
This might shock you. It shocks me too. Still, even after all these years. But when I finally understood how children learn, it all made so much sense. Now I could say a lot about the peers they learn from and the music and media that hypnotizes them. But there is a problem much deeper. Attacking these things alone will not help. Until we have obtained their trust, we cannot deal with these issues.
A child imitates her parentsWe all know that children learn from their parents. Each of us can describe how when small, the child would do this or that to mimic dad or mom. Our littlest one likes to drop in showing herself all dressed up in adult clothes and shoes. It is so funny.
But children are learning much more than just how to wear clothes. Let me mention three important areas they learn from their parents.
- Children learn from how parents respond to different situations.
They are learning how to respond to different situations. For example, do you worry when things don’t go right? Some children will learn to be a specialist in worry. They have mimicked your response.
Of course, if you are going through a stressful time and they see you take special time out to pray and find extra peace by trusting in the Lord. They learn from you how to trust in God. By time they have grown up, they have so regularly seen you do it, they also unconsciously copy you. Children learn how from how parents respond to different situations.
- Children learn from how we treat them.
We have largely talked about this in the first root reason. They somehow have learned that they are not important. The parents do not treat them important so they do not feel important. This is the real problem of self-esteem today. Parents are so selfishly seeking their own lives that they do not really care for their own children.
- Children learn how to relate from how Dad and Mom relate to each other.
I would like to spend a bit more time on this. Perhaps it is because we are so blind to it. But the real reason is that husbands and wives do not often have a good sweet relationship. I know, you are probably asking again, “What does our marriage have to do with teenage rebellion?” But it does.
You see, you have trained your children how to rebel. Let me give you two examples. They might seem not too important, but the more I study this, the more I find that they are foundational stones to a great family. Without a great marriage, you will not have a great family.
- Husbands teach how to treat people by the way they love their wives.
Dad loves Mom by cherishing her. He respects her. Even when she is moody, he is patient and helpful. He puts aside his own wants and desires to meet special needs in her life. He is concerned with how things are going in the home partially because it is his overall responsibility but also because he wants to know how his wife is doing.
He has learned to care for the people in the home as God cares for him. He will pay attention to those things that his wife has mentioned to fix around the home. He is concerned with the building, but he is more concerned that his wife knows how much he cares for her. It is important to her and therefore it is important to him. This is not a mere emotional type of love, but a practical one that originates from a desire to care for as a special treasure.
He has retrained his eyes and desires only to fix on his wife. She might be getting older and might be real tense about something. But he slows down his pace, purposely, so that he can bring extra comfort to her. Perhaps he mentions that she is special to him. Or that he takes her out so she can share with him what is on her mind. Or he volunteers to help her with something.
But the eyes of others are watching. They see how their Dad gently deals with her. He really loves her. They begin to see how one is to care for another. They believe that they also are really important. He is slow to anger. And when he makes a mistake, he apologizes.
Even though Dad is very busy, they see him set special time with her because she is special to him. They conclude if he treats her special, then she must be very special. Dad is so busy. Through this they learn about the importance of relationships–people are important. Men love their jobs, but when they take time aside for their wives because they cherish them, then children know how important people are in a general way. They learn about how to share their lives with others. They naturally share their lives with their parents because they care.
If Dad does not care for his wife, they learn about how mean society can be. It is a ‘rat race.’ Everyone is for himself. They see their Dad not being faithful and looking at pornography. They see their Dad blow up at his wife and just stomp out of the room. They are learning how God relates to people. Is God just some distant Being or is He the one who personally loves us? What you say is not anywhere as important as to how Dad treats Mom. We learn more about God from our Dad’s then we would care to admit. Does love exist? If so, children will relish it and love others. But if not, they will learn how to treat others meanly (just like Dad did). If they see Dad apologize, then they will learn to resolve things through humbling of one’s heart and apology.
He does not work to build up wealth. He knows pleasing God is more important. God tells him to love his wife but never says to make a lot of money. He works to take care of his family and to help the poor. If God gives him more, he gives more away.
Children learn how to live for someone beyond themselves through the way Dad loves Mom. This is how life is. They ‘naturally’ focus on caring for people and not just their own success. They importantly learn how deep and personal God’s love is for them.
- Wives teach how to relate to one in authority by the way they submit to their husbands.
Women today are being challenged left and right to disobey God by asserting their choice against their husbands. Submissiveness is suppose to be an old-fashioned, out-of-date perspective. For God, though, it is the key to harmony in the home. There is no other way to bring a house together than through His commands.
Behind this command is the great “two become one flesh” principle. If there are two heads in the family, then you will have struggles. Jesus through His life showed that submitting Himself to do God’s will is a precious learned response. The church as a whole is to be the bride of the Lord. Just because our society looks down on submission, we should not. It is the key to a great marriage and good children. We train our children through our own responses.
Children learn a lot about love through the Dad’s care and valuing of Mom. But they learn other things through the Mom in her response to Dad.
Wives need to see that God’s special calling in life is to be their husband’s helpmate. They are to work along their husbands rather than separate from them or even against them. Their goal is to merge with their husband in such a way that they are one. Of course, if the husband is eyeing other women, the wife does not trust him. This is hard to do apart from God’s grace. Society is gradually starting to accept a separate doctrine. More and more husbands and wives are deciding to live separately. Not only do the scriptures forbid this, but it is setting the whole family up for trouble and loneliness.
When wives work alongside their husbands, many longstanding tensions just disappear. Yes, I know, the world says you must stand up for your rights, freedom and choice. But this is exactly what the evil one wants you to believe. Just think, do you ever find harmony when you assert your ways? Of course not. As long as you believe that you should have your own way, you will find God’s command to submit to your husband a most disagreeable thing..
Why don’t you believe that your submission is better? It is because the words of the evil one that tricked your great mother, Eve.
When you begin to choose to be submissive, then you are taking the words of God seriously, and they begin to shape your life perspectives. When a wife begins to submit to her husband, great changes take place. The husband finds he does not need to resist her. In fact, he begins to enjoy her presence. The wife begins to get excited about God’s calling in life to please her husband.
The wife will begin to pay close attention to her husband. She will learn how to work along with him. She will discover God’s special grace to work alongside him despite his imperfections. She will also see that she begins to care more for her children, not just in a personal way, but in a larger and wider sense.
The children will see that harmony in the home and love it. They will not see it anywhere else. The home is where they will find it. They will want to be home. They will love to bring their friends over. Their friends will want to come over.
The children will learn how to obey even when they don’t personally like it from their Mom. They will see at times the husband wants a certain thing. They know it is hard for Mom, but Mom does it with a gentle and quiet heart. Her sweetness makes that whole scene like one of those magical moments one never wants to forget. She chose to put another’s will above her own and with her gracious spirit even looked like she enjoyed it. The children learn that obedience has a special power and joy. God gives grace to do it, and there is a wonderful harmony that comes over the hearts of people.
Of course, if they do not see Mom submitting her will, then they see her obedience. Lots of fights develop. There is no harmony. In short, the children learn to rebel from the way Mom rejects God’s command to submit to her husband.
We often do not think our marriage has anything to do with parenting, but it does. Actually, the way we relate to our spouses is more important in shaping our children’s perspectives and attitudes than anything else.
Either our children will learn how to be selfish, commanding, prideful, material-centered, quick to get angry and how to store up hatred and resentment for a good argument, or they will learn how to choose God’s ways: be obedient, caring, gentle, other-oriented (love) and humble.
Most children do not reject Christ and His ways because they know Him. No. They reject Him because they do not see the real Jesus in their parents. They don’t want that kind of religion.
Price: $10.85 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.
Price: $17.12 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.